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Go global: key factors for sustainable international success

How do beauty brands build a successful long term international business? Many brands manage to gain significant market share in their home market but building a successful and most importantly a sustainable international business requires a different mind-set.

Carolle Spilers, with over 20 years’ experience of working with beauty brands to grow their global business and an Associate Partner at The Red Tree, presents 4 key factors for sustainable international success.

1/ Products:
The first element of this equation is product. At the end of the day, your success is reflected in consumers purchasing your products and developing strong retention and brand loyalty.
Products in the consumer’s bathroom or handbag are what remains of all your hard work and creativity, your efforts in driving purchase and letting potential customers know about your brand’s existence. Your products are your ambassadors in the everyday life of your consumer and will reinforce the emotional tie-in with your brand with each use.
Your consumer will enjoy using the product for its formula, its fragrance, its texture, its easy-to-use packaging, the values conveyed in your advertising campaign… and this moment of complicity is your best asset for discovering additional references from the brand as they crystallize the client’s expectations and beliefs in their benefits.
Indeed, products are more than just a formula, a jar and a box. They are dreams, hopes, projections and expectations.

2/ Marketing:
Marketing, and everything that goes with it, is the second crucial ingredient for success: pertinent concept, smart positioning, efficient communication, eye-catching visuals, attractive packaging, efficient and pleasant formulas, relevant retail price levels and so on… these are the second prerequisites which allow companies to transit from “manufacturer status” to a true “brand status”.
Marketing is your seductive weapon for attracting consumers. With your every choice: ingredients (organic, natural, conventional, paraben-free…), packaging (disposable, reusable…), brand concept (technical, well-being…), positioning (high end, affordable…), communication (sophisticated, simple…)…you will determine your target and chose the best way to reach it.
Establishing a dialogue with your consumer wherever he or she may be is the best way to develop a loyal customer base, to acquire brand ambassadors and consequently: sales. Social networks allow direct contact with consumers, an instant market feedback so precious for your marketing and sales efforts. The opportunity of getting in touch, of having a dialogue with your consumer must be wisely used. Not to embrace the opportunity to do so is almost negligent.

3/ Contacts
Contacts are essential for your success provided they are qualified professionals with a good reputation and proven track records in their market. Finding and selecting potential distributors requires professional advice and expertise because without this it is easy to “get into bed” with a distributor who will cause your brand immense problems in the months to come.

One of the most common errors made by brands is abdicating all responsibility for the brand’s welfare to the distributor. Entrusting them with the future success of your brand in their market once they have signed the distributor agreement will only lead to disappointment.
Once the agreement is signed EVERYTHING STARTS AT THIS MOMENT: the essential step has been taken, but the hardest is to come, as your distributor will have to be “fed” with your expertise and guided within your marketing route.

4/ Frequent and regular communication
After signing a distributor contract, many brands wonder why sales are not developing as quickly as expected. Through discussions with brands, we regularly find that there are hardly any contacts with a distributor once the deal is done. Those that are in place are often limited to order processing and admin follow-up.
There might many reasons for this: small teams, lack of time, lack of knowledge of international procedures and markets, ignorance of the distributors’ needs, constrained budgets, priorities to home market development and so on. But you have to ask: having gone to great lengths to get a deal in place, why walk away now at the most crucial time?
Success at this stage rests in regular communication with your international network: whether through a full or part-time integrated export manager, or through an external resource. Your newly acquired distributors will NEED someone to refer to within your organization, someone capable of understanding their needs and who can guide them. Someone who will provide the necessary tools to repeat the magic you managed to create in your home market and who will challenge them to grow your brand in the right way.
This person will be in charge of developing sales and organizing business abroad: your ambassador will animate the network, organize events and promotions, visit outlets, meet key local contacts, understand your brands in-store reality and propose answers on how to build your business.
Hiring an experienced professional, even part-time, can be costly, contractually binding and often unaffordable. The Red Tree offers an alternative with a customized management solution: a qualified seasoned professional who will be in charge of developing your international activity tailored to your needs and budget. This makes it possible, even for niche brands to afford a professional approach in growing their international business.

For more on how we can lead you to success through customized solutions, please contact Carolle Spilers at or call +44 (0) 844 858 8860.

The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.

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